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Earthquake force at Timaru Boys High School

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John Bissett / Stuff

Scaffolding set up for maintenance surrounds the historic Timaru Boys High School Memorial Library located behind the iconic old boy statue of Jack Lovelock.

The 97-year-old Timaru Boy’s High School memorial library has been reinforced by the earthquake and given a fir outside.

University President David Thorpe said business began when the school closed for the Christmas holidays.

We are currently doing some maintenance work outside, painting and arranging.

“It’s a building that costs a lot to maintain but it’s important that we do that, not just for the school but for Timaru too, I think.”

John Bissett / Stuff

Timaru Boys High School Principal Dave Thorpe inspects the ongoing work inside the Historic Memorial Library.

Thorpe said: “The cost of strengthening the earthquake is very large but we do not want to give a number.”

Backed by an old boy, Heritage New Zealand has given away $ 200,000 for years of ongoing restoration.

The Memorial Library, which has held a Category 1 list from Heritage New Zealand since 2001, is the only original building left on the school grounds since it was moved to the North St site in 1913.

The library opened in 1924 after being constructed as a monument to commemorate the 52 old boys who sacrificed their lives in World War I. In 1955, a memorial window was erected in memory of 133 former students who died in World War II.

John Bissett / Stuff

Maintenance work is underway at the Memorial Library of Timaru Boys High School.

The library also contained many photographs with the notable feature being a large collection of medals won by one of the school’s most prominent old boys, Jack Lovelock, during his track in athletics and inherited by his widow. Lovelock won the gold medal in 1500 meters at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

Thorpe added, “The external maintenance should be completed by the end of January, and we hope it will be ready to go to the Anzac Day party, but the restoration process that is taking place inside may last for several years.”

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